Michael Damien, Nick Sousa and Wayne Eastridge -- Washington DC, 1974
In 1974, Michael Damien, Nick Sousa and Wayne Eastridge were convicted in Washington, D.C. for a stabbing murder which they did not commit. All three men are still incarcerated, serving out their 20 years to life sentences. On a November evening 20 years ago, Damien, Sousa, Eastridge, and approximately nine other Pagan Motorcycle Club members were leaving a Washington bar when a brief altercation flared up between the Pagans and three black males. As the Pagan members were entering their cars, they were confronted again by two of the black males, one of whom had a gun. He fired into the crowd of bikers, badly wounding one.
As four of the Pagan members took the wounded biker to a nearby hospital, Damien, Eastridge and Sousa stayed at their car momentarily and then departed from the scene. Due to their unfamiliarity with the neighborhood, they ended up circling a city block and, in doing so, picked up another Pagan member, Steven Jones.
Their car was ultimately stopped, and all four men inside were arrested, tried, and convicted for the stabbing murder of the man who had earlier shot their fellow Pagan member. Jones, who testified against the other three men, served only 3H years for his role in the crime.
When we last visited their case a year ago, the three men and their dedicated lawyers, John Zwerling of Virginia and Art Matthews and James Lovett of Wilmer, Cutler & Pickering in D.C., were planning to make a presentation to the D.C. United States Attorney to discuss new developments in the case which strongly indicated their clients' innocence. Through Kate Germond's tireless investigation, CM obtained crucial statements of numerous individuals which impeach the key testimony of a woman who claimed that two of the three men confessed to the murder. None of these people, who were also present at the supposed "confession," heard any such thing. The woman who fabricated the confession was actually a jilted lover of the two men.
CM also obtained a critical recantation from Jones, whose original incriminating statements about Damien, Eastridge and Sousa's purported role in the stabbing simply did not wash. When the police arrested Jones and the three men shortly after the murder just blocks from the crime scene, Jones was literally drenched in blood. But the police could not recover any testable quantity of blood from the three men and their clothing, except a small stain.